State of the Rangers

Rangers have legit excuses for early struggles, but show they’re capable of much more

Few teams can win without their No. 1 C, No. 1 D and PPQB

When we look back on the season at the end of the year, there’s a good possibility that last weekend will represent its low point.

A blown lead against Toronto followed by another embarrassing performance at home against Edmonton seemed unacceptable over the last couple of days, but last night’s 5-0 drubbing of Pittsburgh was a good reminder that the Blueshirts are capable of much more.

Any team can dominate on any given night in the NHL, but only two can say they were in the Stanley Cup Final last year, so the Rangers’ best efforts carry a little more weight than a team like the Oilers.

Many people have an issue giving a professional sports team excuses, but Alain Vigneault’s club has a good one. What other team would play .500 hockey without its No. 1 center, No. 1 defenseman and power play quarterback? (Yes, Stepan played in both games over the weekend, but he’s far from himself).

Team defense has been a huge, huge issue for the team early on, but if you don’t cut the Blueshirts a little slack given the patchwork blueline unit they’ve been deploying, then you’re just being stubborn.

In addition to the team-wide defensive woes, mistake-prone youngsters, the anchor on the unsettled fourth line that is Tanner Glass, a mere three total goals from the blueline (all by Kevin Klein) and the anemic power play have failed to make things easier for the club. (The mighty Penguins have been perhaps the best team in the league so far, but they weren’t so scary without a power play goal, of which they’ve racked up a ridiculous 21 to New York’s six).

The Rangers’ strengths remain their unmatched goaltending and speed, and both were on full display against the Penguins. The Blueshirts dominated the same team that ended up firing its coach and general manager – in addition to making numerous player personnel changes – after falling to New York last season. Again, the Penguins couldn’t handle them. Will the rest of the league be able to when the Blueshirts are finally at full strength?

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  • Injuries are a part of the game. We were dealt a
    lousy hand early on, and let’s hope that is the end of the injury bug.

    Once Boyle starts playing, and the PP improves, then we will have a better idea of how good we really are. Upon McD’s return, we should start turning on the after burners, and really take off, leaving everyone behind!!!!!

  • IT is very difficult for all teams to be at the top of their game every night. We showed that when we are, we can easily beat the best teams. Getting the “fire” lit every night must not be a simple task. As was displayed last year, its not where you start, but where you finish. I hope we are following that same script where we peak at around game 65 and carry that through the playoffs.

  • Solid post. A lot of us need to back away from the ledge and realize that everything will be alright. When healthy, we are a very good team. We haven’t been healthy all year and we are still a game over .500 – the season is young.

    There’s a lot of really good teams (Chicago, St. Louis, Anaheim, Pittsburgh, Montreal, Boston….and none of them made the finals last year) in this league and it’s all about getting hot at the right time. I agree with SalMerc, We just have to hope that the Rangers get hot when it matters most, and we will make some noise in the playoffs once again.

  • Ok so we get to see how good and how bad we can be.

    Now I can get a little excited. Want to see more of those.

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